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Landscaping Design Fundamentals: Part 2

Posted by: Samuel Hirshfield on July 23, 2013


Last week we took a look at the design concepts of Balance and Repetition as they apply to landscaping. Part of being a DIY’er or contractor is knowing the basics...and there has never been a better time to learn! Today let’s take a look at the concepts of Transition and Proportion and how to use them to create a beautiful landscape.


Transition can be a powerful tool when it comes to adding three dimensions and eye catching elements to a landscape. For example, adding a staircase to a sloping landscape can pull elements together and complete a backyard. Stairs can also be used to focus the eye towards a large element such as a pool or garden shed. 

Want to frame a certain element of your garden? Use height to your advantage and create an ascending tree line to focus the eye on a focal point such as a bench or pond. Using a stair step landscaping design can create depth and make your garden appear larger than it really is. A final idea to consider is installing an extra element such as a walkway to create better transition.


One of the simplest, yet often overlooked or skewed design elements, is proportion. In a basic sense, proportion is how your design elements relate to one another in an aesthetically pleasing way. The most common concepts to focus on are size, shape, depth, and breadth. For example, you would want to stray away from placing a small bench in the middle of a huge yard! By adding or subtracting elements from your garden you can properly harness proportion.

Try utilizing corners as a focal point to highlight large or small features and properly transition the eye. Installing a small pond in the corner of yard can be achieved if it is highlighted by plants and it in proportion to the whole landscape. Features such as ponds and utilization of dark spaces can create the illusion of depth and can be a powerful tool especially in small gardens.

Wrap Up

A strong knowledge of the landscaping design is beneficial for any DIY’er or contractor. Utilizing proportion, transition, balance, and repetition will enhance the look and feel of any yard.

Do you have any of your own tips for using design elements in landscaping? Feel free to share in the comments!

  Privacy Landscaping (ebook) 

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Tags: landscaping, landscaping design, design, fundamentals, walkway, DIY